Indiana State University Newsroom

University mourns loss of former trustee

April 25, 2017

Former Indiana State University trustee and local banking executive Donald E. Smith died Sunday at age 90. He was the retired president and CEO of First Financial.

"Don served our university in numerous capacities over the past five decades. He was a brilliant business man with tremendous marketing savvy. He also was a staunch supporter of our athletics program. His efforts shaped many points of progress for Indiana State University and the community at large, and he will be sorely missed," said Daniel J. Bradley, president of Indiana State.

Smith served on the Indiana State University Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2006 and was Secretary of the Board from 1989 to 1995. In addition, he has served on the ISU Foundation Board since 1984 and was named an honorary life director following many years of active service.

Mike Alley, former chair of the ISU Board of Trustees, served on the board with Smith.

"Don provided strong leadership to Indiana State University and the Wabash Valley leaving an indelible and lasting legacy. His insights of the inter-connection of ISU, area businesses, and the broader community were keen in so many decisions that are benefiting us today. Don's personal support was critical in assuring that many strategic visions for the University and community were actually realized," said Alley. "I learned much from serving with him on the ISU Board of Trustees and will miss his leadership and great sense of humor."

In 2003, Smith was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Indiana State.

In addition to his longtime service on the ISU Board of Trustees and the ISU Foundation Board, Smith was instrumental in raising private funding to support the construction of Hulman Center back in the early 1970s. It was the first fundraising effort of its type at Indiana State. He served as chairman of the campaign steering committee which was formed to raise $1.5 million as part of a challenge gift of $2.5 million from Anton and Mary Hulman. The remaining $4 million for the project was financed through bonds sold by the university.